The following article features in Issue One of the ST BREAST magazine.
Anyone with a breast cancer diagnosis is eligible for a stay at an OTIS property. Guests are matched with available accommodation retreats suitable to their needs. To enquire about a stay, contact the OTIS Foundation bookings team on (03) 5444 1184, or email email@example.com
The OTIS Foundation is a nationwide charity gifting retreat accommodation to women dealing with breast cancer and their families. This amazing organisation is the legacy of Judy Burley, a young woman who lived with breast cancer for seven years until she passed away at 36. Her husband Andrew Barling established OTIS in her honour, building two purpose-built retreats in 2002 on a site close to the home the couple shared in country Victoria. These retreats welcomed their first guests in late 2002 and the Foundation has grown from there.
Now there are around 30 retreats in Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, Northern Territory, Western Australia and Queensland, providing close to 3,500 nights accommodation every year to OTIS guests, accompanied by family and friends.
These properties offer time out to relax, reconnect and regroup for those dealing with the challenges of breast cancer.
This organisation is one of a kind. OTIS Chief Executive Officer Claire Culley says it is the only national charity providing retreat accommodation at no cost to people experiencing breast cancer, accompanied by their loved ones. “Our aim is to provide the gift of time and space in an environment that allows guests to relax, reconnect and take a break away with loved ones in the hope it will reduce some of the psychological impacts of the disease,” she says.
And Debbie, a breast cancer patient who stayed as an OTIS guest in 2019 said: “When you need to get away, but have no energy or time or money to make it happen ... OTIS comes to the rescue.
“We stayed at Alyonah in Daylesford which was incredible. I rarely relax or take a break, but this place took a weight off that I hadn’t realised I was carrying.”